Does the Vatican Love Castro?
By Servando Gonzalez
One of the greatest political and ideological
mysteries of modern times is the Vatican’s love for Communist
Fidel Castro. Despite the fact that Castro’s harassment
and persecution of anti-Castro Catholics in Cuba has continued
uninterrupted since the very first day he grabbed power in the
island, the Vatican has always shown its support for the Caribbean
The recent visit to Cuba of pope Benedict XVI, where he refused
to meet with members of Catholic anti-Castro groups, will not
result in an opening of a space for Catholics in Cuba, but in
the solidification of one of the oldest totalitarian regimes in
the world. This is exactly what happened after John Paul II visited
Cuba in 1998, whose visit resulted in a total diplomatic triumph
for Castro and meager gains for the Catholic Church and the Cuban
On March 13th, 1998, Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston stated in
a speech that, in the last years, Fidel Castro has been a promoter,
rather than an obstacle to freedom of religion in Cuba. Coming
from such an important figure in the Catholic hierarchy, such
a statement gives an idea of how far the process of accommodation
between Castro and the Catholic Church had advanced. This attitude,
however, defies an explanation.
The Vatican is known for its friendly relations with Fascist leaders.
The most known have been Spain's Franco, Italy's Mussolini, Germany's
Hitler and Argentina's Perón, but the list is much longer.
The participation of the CIA, the Vatican and Perón in
helping Nazi war criminals escape from justice — the “rat
lines” — has been extensively documented.
In contrast, the Vatican’s visceral hatred for everything
that smells Communism is well known. This hatred was formalized
in 1937 by pope Pio XI in his anti-Communist enciclic Divini
Redemptoris, still in force, in which he called Communism
“intrinsically evil,” and added, “it is inadmissible
a collaboration with Communism, in any field, by those who want
to save Christian civilization from ruin.” He also called
Communism a “Satanic plague.”
On the other hand, since Fidel Castro proclaimed to the world
his Marxist faith in 1961, when he declared that he had always
been a Marxist at heart and will be so until the last day of his
life, he has never stopped calling himself a Communist. So, why
the Vatican loves Castro so much?
The answer resides in the fact that Castro is not what he purports
to be. Contrary to the extended opinion, Castro is not the ideological
product of the meetings of the Cuban Communist Party, but of the
classrooms of the Colegio de Belén, the Jesuit high school
he attended in Havana.
Fidel Castro is the son of a wealthy landlord who made a fortune
exploiting the poor and serving the interests of the United Fruit
Company. He was born in Birán, a small village founded
by the United Fruit Company near Mayarí, close to Nipe
Bay, on the north coast of the province of Oriente. He spent his
first years at the Manacas estate, owned by his father, Angel
Castro, near Birán
When Fidel reached school age his parents sent him to Santiago
de Cuba, the capital of Oriente province, to study at the LaSalle
School, operated by the Christian Brothers. After a short period
of time he was transferred to the Dolores School, operated by
the Jesuits. In 1942, after finishing grade school, he was sent
to Belén High School in Havana, also operated by the Jesuits.
At Belén High School, Fidel stood out as an athlete, an
indefatigable speaker and a good student — perhaps not too
brilliant, but with a photographic memory. Some of his classmates
claim that it was at Belén when young Fidel fell under
the influence of fathers Armando Llorente and Alberto de Castro
(no relation to Fidel). Both priests, like most of the Spanish
padres in Cuba, were staunch supporters of Francisco
Franco’s Falange, a Spanish brand of fascism, and harbored
strong anti-American feelings. They passed on to their young disciples
at Belén their enthusiasm for their anti-American cause.
Father Alberto de Castro, who taught Latin American history, expounded
on some of his ideas. According to him, the independence of Latin
America had been frustrated because the adoption of materialistic
Anglo-Saxon values and traditions had supplanted Spanish cultural
domination. He emphasized how Franco had liberated Spain from
both Anglo-Saxon materialism and Communist Marxist-Leninism. De
Castro emphasized that those having the truth, which is revealed
by God, had the duty to defend it against all errors. He rejected
compromise and called for the purification of society.
Young Fidel seemed to have been captivated by the teachings of
his Jesuit tutors, and particularly by Father de Castro’s
ideas. It is known that Fidel read most of the works of José
Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder of the Spanish Falange. José
Pardo Llada, a radio commentator and politician who at some time
was close to Castro, said that Fidel had Primo de Rivera’s
complete works at his camp in the Sierra Maestra mountains when
he was fighting a guerrilla warf against President Batista. It
is also known that Fidel was fascinated by Primo de Rivera’s
speeches — some claim that Castro knew many of the speeches
by heart — and by de Rivera’s image of a wealthy man
who left everything and went to fight for what he believed in.
Fidel’s classmates at Belén testify that he was an
admirer of other fascist leaders, including Hitler, Mussolini,
and Perón. Among Castro’s preferred reading was an
eight-volume collection of Mussolini’s speeches. Also, Castro
told a friend that he had learned many things about propaganda
by studying Hitler’s Mein Kampf, which he also
knew by heart. Some friends recall that young Fidel had pinned
on one of his room’s walls a large map of Europe, where
he happily marked the victorious advances of the Wehrmacht’s
Carlos Rafael Rodríguez, a former senior member of the
original Cuban Communist Party who later became a Castro follower,
seems to confirm the stories. Talking to one of Castro’s
biographers, Rodríguez told him that he recalls an article
about Castro published in the conservative newspaper Diario
de la Marina when Castro was at Belén. The article
mentions Castro “speaking about fascism in a favorable way.”
Father de Castro had founded at Belén an elitist secret
society named Convivio, through which he attracted young
students with leadership qualities. It is safe to surmise that
Father de Castro was actually a talent spotter for the Vatican’s
intelligence services. Like their CIA and KGB counterparts, the
Jesuits know the advantages of the early recruitment of agents
and agents of influence from the ranks of their highly impressionable
students. Most students at the Colegio de Belén came from
the Cuban upper classes, and many of them eventually would end
up occupying high positions in the Cuban economy, press, armed
forces and government.
Fidel Castro soon became one of Convivio’s more active members.
In 1943 Father de Castro and his disciples of Convivio
signed a pact in which they swore to fight for a united Hispanic
America, large, united, and opposed to the treacherous Anglo-Saxons’
control over the New World.
Dr. José Ignacio Rasco, Fidel’s schoolmate at Belén,
recalls that on one occasion, during an academic discussion, Fidel
defended, as a thesis, the necessity of a good dictator in lieu
of democracy. Fidel believed that, in the specific instance of
Cuba, problems would remain unresolved unless a strong hand took
hold of the Island, since democracy had proved incapable of solving
In one of his books, Theodore Draper published a letter Castro
wrote his friend Luis Conte Agüero on August 14, 1954. In
it Fidel tells him about his goal “to organize the men of
the 26th of July Movement and to unite into an unbreakable body
all the fighters.” Though Draper uses the word body
in his translation into English, the actual word used by Castro
in the Spanish original is “haz.” Haces
(the plural of haz), is Spanish for fasces,
the very Latin word after which fascism was named.
Fidel believed that, instead of a Communist-style organized proletarian
struggle, leadership alone could provide the catalyst that would
mobilize the masses behind the revolution. In a letter to Conte
Agüero Castro emphasizes the two conditions he considers
more important for his movement to achieve. They are “discipline”
and “leadership,” especially the latter. Castro’s
axiom, “La jefatura es básica,” (“Leadership
is basic”) repeated several times in his articles, letters
and speeches, is more closely related to the Nazi führerprinzip
than to any known Marxist principle.
The leadership principle is an integral part of all fascist systems.
Contrary to what we saw in most communist countries, the personality
of the leaders plays a crucial role in all fascist regimes. As
scholar Walter Laqueur rightly pointed out, “leadership
as an institution and a symbol has been an essential part of fascism
and one of its specific characteristics, in contrast with earlier
forms of dictatorship, such as military rule.”
The fact was also noticed by professor A. James Gregor. In a book
he wrote about fascism, he observed that, “The political
commitments with which Castro came to power were all but indistinguishable
in style and content from the original programmatic commitments
of Mussolini in 1922.” Gregor called Castroism a tropical
variety of fascism.
The colors appearing on the 26th of July Movement’s banner
were red, black, and white. This is very unusual because, though
red and white are colors present in the Cuban flag, black is absent
from all of Cuban national symbols. Hugh Thomas believes that
Castro unconsciously got the idea from the colors of the anarchist
flag. But red, black and white are also the colors of the Nazi
swastika flag. This may be just the product of a coincidence,
but when it is seen together with other information it takes on
a very specific meaning.
The first militia units, created at Havana’s University,
wore dark shirts resembling those of the Nazis. There were some
early mass rallies at the University where torches were burnt.
The similarities with the Nazi Storm Troopers became so blatantly
evident that the University militia soon changed its uniforms
to more conventional ones. But, rather than new, the University’s
militia and their dark shirts was actually an old dream of Fidel
Castro. On January 27, 1953, on the eve of the centennial of Cuban
patriot José Martí’s birth, a large group
of Fidel’s followers showed up at the University. Then,
they descended the large staircase marching shoulder to shoulder
and carrying torches in an impressive Nazi-like parade.
An American journalist and author found out that Castro “reportedly
read Marx, and Hitler’s Mein Kampf, during his
University days and was greatly influenced by both.” Also,
Mario Llerena, a prominent member of the anti-Batista group M-26-7,
claims that many people have seen in Fidel the characteristics
of a Fascist dictator, and that he often heard it said that one
of Fidel’s favorite books was Hitler's Mein Kampf.
Evidence shows that Castro was in fact very familiar with Hitler’s
For example, Hitler was called “the Führer” (the
chief) by his close followers. Among his intimate circle Fidel
is called “el jefe” (the chief). Hitler used to defile
his enemies calling them vermin. Castro calls his opponents “gusanos,”
literally “worms.” Castro used the term “bandidos”
(bandits) for the patriots fighting guerrilla warfare against
him in the Escambray mountains. A Special Instruction of the German
Oberkommado, dated August 23, 1942, ordered that, for psychological
reasons, the term “partisan” should not be used. “Bandit”
was the appropriate term for guerrillas fighting the Nazis. It
makes sense that Fidel, an avid reader of Nazi literature, copied
the use of these terms from the Nazis.
Over and over the Cuban people have been recorded chanting rhythmically
“Fi-del!, Fi-del! Fi-del!,” at rallies and
mass meetings. The chanting closely resembles the Nazi “Zieg-Heil!,
Zieg-Heil!, Zieg-Heil!” and the “Du-ce!,
Du-ce!, Du-ce!” cheers of Mussolini’s Fascist
thugs. A common slogan in Hitler’s Germany was: “The
Führer orders, let us obey!,” very similar to the Italian
Fascist motto “Credere, Obedire, Combattere!”
(“Believe, Obey, Fight!”). Its Castroist counterpart
is: “Comandante en jefe: ¡Ordene!”
(“Commander-in-Chief, give us your orders!”).
There are more indications of Castro’s strong fascist proclivities.
For example, Castro’s last words in his own defense at the
Moncada trial, “Condemn me, never mind, History will absolve
me,” are very evocative of Hitler’s final words in
his own defense at the trial for the frustrated 1923 beer-hall
putsch, “Condemn me, never mind, the goddess of History
will absolve me.”
Evidently, there are too many similarities to be just the product
It was in vogue among Cuban intellectuals, particularly during
the pre-war and war years, to play with the totalitarian theories
espoused by the then powerful members of the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo
Axis. It was only after WW II, when Fidel Castro was a student
at the University of Havana, that the ideas of communism began
gaining popularity in Cuba, though fascism still attracted a large
number of the Cuban intelligentsia.
It was revealed that at the time Castro took power in Cuba some
people at the U.S. State Department were convinced that Castro
was going to follow a Fascist path. The reasons for such belief
were that Castro’s leadership style was closer to that of
the Spanish dictatorship than to that of Marxists. Other reasons
were the similarities between his techniques and those of the
Nazis and of Mussolini. Those techniques emphasized national socialism
and mass mobilization, exactly the same techniques Castro was
A close analysis of Castro’s strategy since the early days
of the revolution shows that it resembles fascism more than Marxism,
and from the very beginning the Cuban Communists noticed the similarities.
After Castro attacked the Moncada garrison in 1953 they criticized
the action and labeled its participants as “putschists”
and “petty bourgeois,” terms that in Communist parlance
Moreover, the revolutionary movement led by Fidel was never defined
by the Cuban Communists as Marxist or Marxist-Leninist, but “petty
bourgeois” and “nationalist,” a common description
used by Marxists to portray fascism. The Cuban Communists, who
were true experts in ideological matters, always saw Castro as
a Fascist, that’s why they labeled the attack on the Moncada
barracks a “putschist attempt.”
In conclusion, the reason why the pope loves Fidel Castro is because
he knows that the Cuban tyrant has always been a Fascist at heart,
and will remain so until the last day of his life.
Or maybe not.
Castro’s true ideology is an enigma that has confused not
only most of the scholars who have attempted to decipher it but
Castro’s close associates and opponents as well. The fact
that he has been so clever in hiding his true beliefs and ideological
allegiances, planting false clues to disorient both enemies and
friends, is one of the reasons why he has been so successful.
There is ample evidence pointing to the fact that, contrary to
common belief, Fidel Castro never was, has never been, and will
never be a Marxist, or a Communist. Moreover, it seems that he
is not even a true Fascist. The relationship Fidel Castro has
established with the Cuban people and with his associates is with
his person, not with ideas or with any particular ideology, so
he could change his ideas without changing this relationship.
As Herbert Matthews, a New York Times journalist who
initially fell under Castro’s spell, later observed, "Early
in the revolution I suggested that Castro picked up movements
and ideas as one would garments, putting them on, taking them
off, throwing them away, placing them in the wardrobe —
but that in all cases the wearer was the same Fidel Castro."
Furthermore, given the peculiar characteristics
of his mind-set, it is very difficult to believe that, during
his whole life, Fidel Castro has been nothing else but a fanatic
Castroist. On the other hand, if I were forced to pigeonhole Fidel
Castro ideologically, which is not easy to do, I would say that
he is a sort of renegade Jesuit who attained power and is keeping
it using fascist tactics.
For a detailed study of Castro’s ideology, see my book:
The Secret Fidel Castro: Deconstructing the Symbol.
Servando Gonzalez is a Cuban-born American writer, semiologist
and intelligence analyst. He has written books, essays and articles
on Latin American history, intelligence, espionage, and semiotics.
Servando is the author of Historia herética de la revolución
fidelista, The Secret Fidel Castro, The Nuclear Deception
and La madre de todas las conspiraciones, all available
He also hosted the documentaries Treason in America: The Council
on Foreign Relations and Partners in Treason: The CFR-CIA-Castro
Connection, produced by Xzault Media Group of San Leandro,
California, both available at the author's site at http://www.servandogonzalez.org.
His book, Psychological Warfare and the New World Order: The
Secret War Against the American People appeared in late 2010
and is available at Amazon.com.
Or download a
.pdf copy of the book you can read on your computer or i-Pad.
Servando's new book, OBAMANIA: The New Puppet
and His Masters, is already available at Amazon.com.
Servando's next book (in Spanish) La CIA,
Fidel Castro, el Bogotazo y el Nuevo Orden Mundial, will
appear this Spring.